The Brunswick Town Council unanimously adopted a $97.5 million 2025 budget, which comes with a 2.4% tax rate increase ahead of a town-wide property reassessment on the radar later this year.

The council approved the proposed budget at a special meeting Thursday night. The budget includes a $54.6 million spending plan for the Brunswick School Department. The adoption comes just over a month and a half ahead of the new fiscal year, which starts on July 1.

“This is probably among — if not the most — painless budget processes that I’ve gone through,” District 1 Councilor David Watson said. “And I say that because I was able to vote yes [on these items]. And that is a major effort [of] the school board and their engagement to the community in realizing that people are at their limit.”

The adopted budget marks a $5.4 million increase compared to last year’s, which came with a 7.4% property tax increase. In the next fiscal year, the new budget will require over $60 million in funding from property taxes, according to the budget resolution.

The finalized tax rate increase of 2.4% garnered support from councilors at the budget workshop prior to adoption. The new rate is slightly lower than the initial proposed rate increase — 2.88% — that was made public earlier this budget season.

To keep the rate low, Interim Town Manager Julia Henze said at a previous budget workshop that she pulled funding from other sources, including Bowdoin College’s rented office space on the third floor. Bowdoin College had previously been paying just $1,200 a year for 10 years to use the entire third floor. Now, with a new negotiated rental rate, the school will pay just over $192,000 a year for a smaller portion of the third floor, which, according to Henze, is closer to market rate.

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What many town officials described as a difficult budget season comes to a close as officials prepare for a town-wide revaluation. With a town budget finalized, the Assessor’s Office can select a third-party real estate company and begin the process of reassessing homes and other properties for fiscal year 2026.

“No formal contracts have been signed and no timeline has been set yet,” Tax Assessor Taylor Burns said of the selection process. “Hopefully within the next couple of weeks.”

The revaluation, Burns said, is expected to be completed by April 1, 2025, with new tax bills reflecting the changes sent the following fall. For now, property owners can expect a notice in the mail and online this fall about what the process will look like, he said.

The revaluation was a concern noted by a few councilors in previous budget workshops and was acknowledged by District 7 Councilor Steven Weems at the special meeting to adopt the budget.

“We know a revaluation is coming and we know this will shift more of the total tax burden to residential property taxpayers. It’s just the nature of a revaluation in the contemporary economic world we live in,” Weems said. “So, next year, we’ll have to combine exercising restraint in our core school and town expenditures and look for creative ways to mitigate the additional impact of revaluation.”

This year’s school budget, which increased by $1.6 million, accounts for 1.76 % of the tax rate increase. The town’s portion of the increase accounts for 0.47% and the Cumberland County portion is 0.17%, according to town budget documents.

Residents will vote on the $54.6 million school budget referendum in the June local primary election.

Absentee ballots will be available up until a few days prior to the election, according to Town Clerk Fran Smith.

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